Chelmsford City Council

Final call for artists for £10,000 project celebrating Chelmsford’s waterways

Artists have ten days left to submit proposals for an exciting new commission about Chelmsford. Essex Cultural Diversity Project has teamed up with Chelmsford City Council to invite creatives to come up with ways to explore the rich story of the city, including both its heritage and ambitions for the future. The commission is part of Essex2020 – A Year of Science and Creativity, and applicants are encouraged to engage creatively with science and technology and incorporate some aspect of digital in their work. The project, which has a budget of £10,000, is asking for ideas inspired by Chelmsford’s rivers and waterways and how these connect people and places. 

Cllr Rose Moore, Chelmsford City Council’s cabinet member for Greener and Safer Chelmsford hopes it will remind people of the significance of these areas:

 "Chelmsford’s waterways deserve to be celebrated; they are a huge asset to the people who live here and vital to the history and the ecology of the city. In previous decades, the landscape between Chelmsford and the tidal estuary at Heybridge Basin was an inspiration to J. A. Baker, one of the country’s great nature writers. We’d love to know how a new generation of artists might use this aspect of the city and wider district to create new works.” 

Another key aim of this project will be to explore the concept of diversity and to connect communities. As part of the commission, the chosen artist will work with at least one local community or voluntary organisation to develop their piece. The commission is supported through the Arts Council England National Portfolio funding for Essex Cultural Diversity Project to deliver a commissioning programme in Essex. ECDP creative director Indi Sandhu says community engagement is crucial for a successful submission: 

“It’s important that the diverse communities of Chelmsford can engage with the local landscape through the arts and cultural sector, and giving people a chance to be part of the creative journey of a new piece of art is fundamental to the principles of Essex Cultural Diversity Project. As well as producing something brilliant, we want to see opportunities for communities to make connections, gain confidence and learn new skills built into any proposal so that this commission has the power to benefit as many people as possible.”

 The deadline for applications is Friday 11 September, with interviews scheduled for the end of the month. Dr Katie Deverell, Chelmsford City Council’s cultural partnerships manager says it’s a fantastic chance for the successful artist to help shape Britain’s newest city: 

“This is an inspiring and timely project which reflects a growing interest in our waterways and their importance as special environments. Rivers have been fundamental to Chelmsford’s history and we are excited to see how artists will reflect and interpret their ongoing importance as places of well-being, enjoyment, wildlife habitats and nature corridors. From working with river clay to symbolising data flows or using light projection, there are so many ways the brief can be interpreted.

” For more details, including instructions on how to apply, go to or download the brief as a PDF document here.

Wednesday 2 September 2020

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